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Doug's Drift

Success Through Simplicity

October 2, 2013

Diversity is often unintentionally associated with complexity in the execution of retail product development and/or branding. There’s a misguided tendency to attempt swipes at meeting the needs of too many potential consumer demographics. In our age of mass retail consolidation, banners—along with their existing lines—are acquired at a breakneck pace. And when multiple banners exist under the umbrella of a large supermarket company, as is the case with several of those populating this month’s Top 35 Private Label Retailers (a PLBuyer exclusive), the mix of lines can grow profoundly muddled and unduly long.

Such a situation does not translate into the highest potential for success.

Simplicity is a paramount factor in cultivating an environment where store brands resonate strongly with consumers. No one line will appeal to every consumer. But a simplified, balanced lineup of private brands, built around clear, targeted messages, can collectively appeal to the highest percentage of consumers.

Retailers need to cut through their roster with the tenets of Occam’s razor—that is, don’t unnecessarily multiply product lines in the hope of gaining more overall mass appeal. This process might require sacrifices and biting the proverbial bullet when identifying unnecessary overlap or outdated product dynamics. Streamline selected offerings around central messages, and build those messages in logical fashion across all avenues of marketing.

Over the course of this process, every moving part requires analysis. For a food or beverage, does every item within the ingredient statement make sense for the target consumer? What about the nutritional aspects? And don’t overlook packaging. If a given private label line hasn’t seen a makeover in recent years, it’s time for analysis. Does the packaging format make sense to the target customer? Are the graphics and other front-of-pack messaging on-target? Does the range of package sizes fit into the desired consumer’s lifestyle? These variables and more require detailed analysis within the framework of any given store brand.

 Look at prevailing, long-range trends in the industry. Chances are, those trends matter to your customers. Determine which product ranges align with those trends and ensure that every aspect of those products fits the model. When a hole is noted that might force customers to look elsewhere, fill it. Break into new categories and product ranges. Take a leading edge and catch competitors—including national brands—by surprise. 

But above all, build-in simplicity and clear messaging. Your customers will thank you for it.
 

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